SANGER – Krista Sheaffer reached a lofty milestone as she continued her school record scoring exploits last week, with her Sanger High teammates stepping up to help the Apaches regain their footing in the County Metro Athletic Conference girls basketball campaign.
Senior Sheaffer surpassed the 2,000 career points mark with a 38-point outburst in Sanger’s 64-31 dismantling of Edison High on Jan. 17. Two nights later, the 6-foot-2 forward-center poured in 31 points, and her teammates stepped up with some important second half baskets as the Apaches (11-12) came from behind to defeat Garza High, 51-46. Sanger owns sole possession of third place in the CMAC with a 2-2 record.
“We keep telling our girls, work while you wait, and all we can hope for is to keep getting better. And I think we have,” said coach Fidel Alves, whose squad snapped a six-game losing streak with the two strong performances. “A lot of people have been stepping up when we get in foul trouble, and we’ve been getting confidence by (performing). I feel really good about where we are as a team.”
Players stepped up in both wins to provide scoring and assist support to Sheaffer, who became the 29th player in Central Section history to score 2,000 career points and has moved up to seventh all-time at SHS in rebounding. Brooke Garcia had six of her eight points in the first half to keep Sanger close against Garza, and Elizabeth Gonzalez (five points) had a pair of baskets to put the Apaches ahead to stay in the third quarter.
In the final eight minutes, Sheaffer scored six points and guard Lucy Takeda collected a steal and fed Garcia for a layup to build a seven-point lead. Sheaffer’s two foul shots in the final two minutes built an eight point lead, and aggressive Sanger defense made it stand up the rest of the way.
“It’s fun out there, I enjoy it,” said Sheaffer, who plans to attend Cal State East Bay in Hayward this fall for her higher education and to continue her basketball career. “Most people tell me I’m smiling on the court, playing and having fun. It’s just fun for me to play.”
Against Edison, Sheaffer collected 15 rebounds and is averaging more than 31 points per game this winter. Seven different players scored in the rout with Siena Gonzalez and Sofia Aguilar each scoring six points while Briana Alday (seven rebounds) and Kristin Cockrell added five points apiece.
Alves praised Sheaffer not just for her court exploits, but her attitude on and off the floor with the program.
“She’s a great kid, she’s a basketball kid who really loves the game,” he said. “In fact, I applaud her for being able to make adjustments, along with the team, at halftime without really practicing it. As she was coming across these milestones, I’m so thankful we were able to acknowledge her accomplishments.
“I think how she’s impacting the young people that are coming up is so powerful. Her accomplishments to me are bigger than basketball, it’s more what she can do for the female athlete across the board.”
Sanger finishes up the first round of CMAC play on Jan. 24 at Madera, then travels to Bullard to open the second round with a 6:30 p.m. game on Friday, Jan. 26. The Apaches then play two more road games before closing out the regular season against Madera on Friday, Feb. 9.